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a rake, a fork, a sifter and a lifter

November 24, 2012 Gotalottie, Tools No Comments
hard-life

Three weeks ago, a parcel arrived – a cardboard box printed with the words ’Golden Gark’.

On opening, all was revealed: a couple of pieces of plastic, a small bag of bolts, washers, etc and a leaflet, printed in several languages which described the assembly instructions..  and a long sleek and rather sexy red handle.

Our Gark had arrived. The instructions were tossed to one side as I hurriedly assembled the components; I could read that later – if there were any bits left over.

What’s a Gark?

To describe the Gark in its simplest form, its a rake, for gathering fallen leaves, twigs, grass clippings etc. In one deft flick of the wrist however, the rake is immediately transformed into a long multi-tined fork which makes short work of lifting those raked-up leaves or grass clippings. The tines are angled slightly upwards, allowing them to glide over the top of a lawn surface for example. On each side of the head, there are 2 thicker tines which are slightly raised and these allow it to gather up large quantities in one lift.

 

The close-tined, polycarbonate head of the Gark

The close-tined, polycarbonate head of the Gark

 

The Gark can also be described as a sifter for sifting through soil or compost and removing small stones, debris and even for lifting potatoes, there are photos on their website of it even lifting bricks – never grown them though..

 

The Gark can lift and sift a lot of material

The Gark can lift and sift a lot of material

 

I was interested in its ability to lift grass clippings and even seaweed off the beach and it would clearly make light work of this task. My immediate concern was the head, the business end and a vision that this might break against some obstacle; our previous rake – a stainless steel ’62 registered model – had lasted exactly 6 weeks while clearing our allotment. I’m a bit heavy-handed with tools, a lot of bish, bash and bosh.

The literature shows the head to be made, not from plastic, but from polycarbonate, that’s the stuff that motorbike helmets are made of. There’s a photo of the tines being bent back by 180 degrees without snapping, but like I said - I’m a bit tough on tools and not easily swayed by sales blurb.

I had some real work for it, not just lifting a few leaves on a lawn. The work that I had in mind, included some serious raking of beds on an allotment and some horse manure to lift and move about.

The first stop was at the horse riding stables, we’ve got access to the fields and the chance to collect horse manure in the ‘raw’. That requires it to be lifted from the grass – not such a simple task for a spade or a fork. The Gark was, it is fair to say, in its element here; the girls at the stables were impressed too, it’s not a fun part of their daily tasks.

 

The tines glide easily under even quite heavy material

The tines glide easily under even quite heavy material

 

On arriving back at the allotment, the Gark and I had more manure to move, this has been piled in large heaps in order to heat up rapidly and needs regularly turning. It would be unfair on the Gark to expect it to perform well here, the manure becomes quite compacted after just a week and the head is possibly too flexible to penetrate the pile. I was however, very surprised; after just a little loosening with a normal garden fork, it was quite simple to lift quite large amounts with the Gark. As the size of the heap reduced, it made easy work of the loose material and it performed well as a rake and shovel, where I would have struggled with a traditional fork or spade. I’ll be honest, I was hard on the Gark at this point and it performed very well, together we have moved a lot of manure already.

 

A tough task? No

A tough task? No

 

The Gark responds very well as a rake, even spreading quite large amounts of compost or loose soil. By increasing the downward pressure and the rake angle, significant volumes of material can be moved at ease, a traditional rake would simply not be up to the job.

I wouldn’t want to keep the Gark at the allotment all of the time, it’s too useful in the garden also. It would be superb at scarifying a lawn and removing moss, thatch, etc or for clearing light weeds from a gravel drive or path.

So, the verdict is a resounding ‘Yes’. It’s a rake, a fork, a sifter and a lifter and it also has a long, sleek and rather sexy, red handle.

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